Personal Essay: The Little Blue Book

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By the time you call hospice care, your house is pretty full. There is a freezer bursting with sympathy dinners, and its door is covered in sympathy cards. Once hospice arrives, it gets even fuller.

They bring social workers with cathartic exercises and nurses to administer pain medication. One level-headed person wears scrubs and checks for a pulse while everyone else sobs or considers their grief. But no matter how crowded it gets, there’s always room for the “little blue book.”

It has a title, of course, but no one uses it in conversation. To survivors, those the deceased leaves behind, it is  a talisman, a source of strength. Ask one of them if they’ve read Gone From My Sight, and they’ll hesitate. Suggest that it’s a powder-blue, 15-page pamphlet with a sail boat on the front, and watch the recognition register on their faces. They’ll recall reading it as time grew too short …

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